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ISL- Indian Super League

ISL 2023-24 Playoffs: How influential can Ahmed Jahouh be for Odisha FC against Kerala Blasters?

Published at :April 19, 2024 at 2:00 PM
Modified at :April 19, 2024 at 2:00 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Sattyik Sarkar


Ahmed Jahouh is a player Kerala Blasters will look to keep a tight check on.

The stage is set for a high-stakes clash in the ISL 2023-24 playoffs as Odisha FC lock horns with Kerala Blasters. While both teams boast talented attackers, the midfield battle holds immense significance. In this crucial encounter, Ahmed Jahouh, the lynchpin of Odisha FC’s midfield, has the potential to be the game changer. Here’s why Jahouh’s influence could be pivotal for the Kalinga Warriors.

The midfield maestro who dictates tempo

Ahmed Jahouh isn’t a flashy attacker or a prolific scorer. His true strength lies in his ability to orchestrate play from a deeper position. As a central midfielder known for his composure and precise passing, Jahouh acts as the fulcrum of Odisha FC’s attacks. He dictates the tempo, transitions play smoothly, and possesses a knack for finding pockets of space to launch attacks.

Kerala Blasters have shown vulnerabilities in their midfield throughout the season. Their current options, while experienced, haven’t consistently provided the creativity and defensive solidity needed. This opens the door for Jahouh to exploit these weaknesses.

Jahouh’s influence extends beyond initiating attacks. His long balls and diagonal passes can unlock opposing defences and create scoring opportunities for the likes of Roy Krishna and Diego Mauricio. He’s also a dead-ball specialist, capable of whipping in dangerous free-kicks and crosses that could expose any lapses in concentration from the Blasters’ defence.

Jahouh’s defensive contribution is often overshadowed by his offensive capabilities. He’s a diligent tackler with a good reading of the game. His ability to break up play and intercept passes in midfield could disrupt the supply line to the likes of Diamantakos, Kerala Blasters’ primary goal threat.

A tactical conundrum for Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic faces a tactical dilemma when it comes to Jahouh. Should he deploy a dedicated man-marker to shadow Jahouh and stifle his influence? This could disrupt the Blasters’ own formation and leave them vulnerable to counter-attacks. Alternatively, a zonal marking approach could leave gaps for Jahouh to exploit.

The key for Kerala Blasters will be to neutralize Jahouh’s influence early on. Aggressive pressing and tight marking in midfield will be crucial to prevent him from dictating the tempo of the game. Additionally, closing down passing lanes and anticipating his movements will be vital in stopping him from launching dangerous attacks.

Leadership qualities

Ahmed Jahouh’s leadership and experience will be crucial in a high-pressure playoff encounter. He can be the calming presence in midfield, guiding his younger teammates and ensuring they maintain tactical discipline throughout the match.

While Jahouh’s performance will be vital, Odisha FC’s success rests on a collective effort. Their defenders need to be solid, and their attackers need to convert the chances created by Jahouh’s creativity. However, Jahouh’s ability to control the midfield and dictate the tempo can be the difference between victory and defeat.

With the season on the line, all eyes will be on Ahmed Jahouh. If he can perform to his potential, he can orchestrate Odisha FC’s path to victory and silence the passionate Kerala Blasters fans. This match could be a defining moment for Jahouh, solidifying his position as one of the ISL’s most influential midfielders.

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